Coronavirus-infected GP Chris Higgins hits back after criticism from Victorian Health Minister
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Melbourne GP Chris Higgins (right), who is the father of singer Missy Higgins (left), has tested positive for coronavirus. (Supplied: Instagram)
Unwell Melbourne GP treated dozens of patients before testing positive to coronavirus
A Melbourne GP who examined optimistic for the coronavirus after treating dozens of sufferers has lashed out at Victorian Well being Minister Jenny Mikakos who criticised his decision to return to work.
- Melbourne GP Chris Higgins mentioned on Fb he had a “gentle chilly” that had virtually resolved itself when he returned to work
- Dr Higgins, the daddy of singer Missy Higgins, accused Ms Mikakos of taking a “low cost alternative for political grandstanding”
- Dozens of others, together with many GPs and the AMA, have thrown their assist behind him
In a reply to a submit on Ms Mikakos’s Fb web page, Chris Higgins, a health care provider on the Toorak Clinic in Melbourne, mentioned he was “upset in regards to the inaccuracies and unfairness of [her] feedback” and demanded an apology.
Dr Higgins began feeling unwell throughout a visit to the US and handled about 70 sufferers on the clinic and two sufferers at a nursing residence between returning to Australia on February 29 and testing optimistic on Friday.
He was the 11th individual in Victoria confirmed to have the virus.
The Toorak Clinic was temporarily closed in the wake of Dr Higgins testing positive. (Google Maps)
Ms Mikakos, who recognized Dr Higgins’s apply however not him individually, informed a press convention on Saturday: “I’ve to say I’m flabbergasted that a health care provider that has flu-like signs has offered to work.
“Our recommendation to the group is that if in case you have returned from abroad and are experiencing chilly or flu-like signs then please keep residence. Don’t go to work.”
In his reply on Fb, Dr Higgins mentioned Ms Mikakos’s model of occasions didn’t match what he had informed her division.
“I had a light chilly after I returned from the USA final Saturday morning, which had virtually resolved itself by Monday morning, therefore my determination to return to work,” he mentioned.
“I hesitated to do a swab as a result of I didn’t fulfil your standards for testing however did one anyway on Thursday night for sake of completeness, not imagining for one second it will turn into optimistic.
“I imagine you’ve taken an inexpensive alternative for political grandstanding and would admire an apology.”
What the consultants are saying about coronavirus:
Dozens of different replies to Ms Mikakos’s submit supplied assist for Dr Higgins, who’s singer Missy Higgins’s father, and accused Ms Mikakos of “throwing him underneath the bus”.
A number of people, including GPs, have offered their support to Dr Higgins.
‘We will not take any probabilities’
In an announcement launched Saturday afternoon, Ms Mikakos didn’t apologise to Dr Higgins.
She mentioned whereas she understood the pressures on healthcare employees to show as much as work once they felt unwell, these are distinctive circumstances.
Everybody had a duty to forestall the unfold of the virus and it was essential for folks to not attend work in the event that they have been unwell, she mentioned.
“We’re nonetheless within the containment section of what’s going to possible be a pandemic,” Ms Mikakos mentioned.
“So to guard the general public and healthcare employees we will not take any probabilities. And all of us have a duty to do what we are able to to forestall the unfold of this virus.
“In the event you work in a well being service, the aged care sector and/or a GP clinic it’s completely crucial that in case you are unwell and/or show the danger elements of COVID-19 that you don’t attend work.”
She mentioned that was the recommendation of the chief well being officer and it utilized to all Victorians.
“Our GPs and hospital employees are on the frontline of this battle and proper now all of us have to be additional cautious and work collectively to comprise this virus as a lot as attainable and defend the group,” she mentioned.
Earlier at a fiery press convention, Minister for Ladies Gabrielle Williams mentioned Ms Mikakos had reached out to Dr Higgins and insisted the Well being Minister was not singling him out.
“The Victorian Authorities is unapologetic about doing all we are able to to maintain the Victorian folks secure,” Ms Williams mentioned.
AMA defends GP
Australian Medical Affiliation Victoria president Julian Rait mentioned it was unwise for folks to go to work in the event that they have been clearly unwell.
“That is not simply healthcare employees, that is everyone in the neighborhood; all of us have to take such signs significantly,” he mentioned.
“That mentioned, it’s unfair to use retrospective judgements about well being employees given the quickly evolving nature of this epidemic and the prior scientific recommendation that has been given about who needs to be remoted and examined.
“I doubt this poor GP would have met the Authorities’s personal standards for testing and self-isolation.”
Victorian Shadow Well being Minister Georgie Crozier mentioned Ms Mikakos had misplaced the boldness of the state’s GPs and may resign.
“Her place in my thoughts is untenable,” Ms Crozier mentioned.
“You can’t have so many individuals having misplaced confidence within the Well being Minister, the very person who needs to be offering that course and confidence throughout what’s a severe public well being concern, and that in my thoughts means it is an untenable place for the minister to be in.”
Sufferers and employees remoted
Dr Higgins flew direct from San Francisco to Melbourne on United Airways flight UA0060, arriving about 9:30am on February 29.
Ms Mikakos on Saturday mentioned passengers on the flight can be contacted as quickly because the manifest was supplied, or in any other case they might name the Victorian coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
All sufferers seen by the physician and clinic employees are being contacted by the Division of Well being and Human Providers and are required to isolate themselves at residence for 14 days.
Screening clinics opened on Saturday on the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Alfred, the Austin and Field Hill.
Those that suspect they could have the virus have been suggested to name forward earlier than attending the clinics.